015: The Importance of a Good Mentor with Lowell Keppel
Almost every alternative medicine practitioner has encountered road blocks while establishing their wellness clinics. Many of us have experienced the disappointment of hiring a practice management groups only to end up with poor results and no money in the bank account. Growing a practice is not for the faint at heart. There are some intense learning curves for sure.
During the early years of my own practice, I struggled as well. And so did my good friend, Dr. Lowell Keppel. Lowell is as passionate about helping clinicians as he is about helping his patients, which is where my passion is as well. Why? It’s simple: having a good mentor, who has already gone through the hard lessons of practice growth, can be a tremendous asset to someone who wants to side-step the challenges and grow their own practice at lightning speed.
Today, Lowell joins the podcast to talk about his role in mentoring clinicians, how he helps new doctors overcome limiting beliefs and create successful practices of their own, and why everyone at any stage of life or business benefits from having a great coach or mentor in their lives.
- Why so many practice management groups overpromise and underdeliver.
- How Lowell helps new clinicians create a smart, measurable definition of success to set a map for building their practice.
- Why setting boundaries with certain people is essential for mental well-being.
TweetableIf you’re a prayer person, quit asking God for stuff and start thanking God for stuff. - Dr. Lowell Keppel Click To Tweet
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Dr. Ronda Nelson: Well, hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of The Clinical Entrepreneur Podcast. I am your host, Dr. Ronda Nelson and I have a super awesome guest with me today who is, although we’ve not known each other for very long, he’s quickly become a very important part of my clinical world and as a friend. So, I’d love to introduce my good friend, Dr. Lowell Keppel. Dr. Keppel, thank you for joining me.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: It’s my pleasure, Ronda. Thank you very much.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: We have had lots of conversations back and forth about all things clinical, and both of us love and use the same supplement company, standard process. What I know about Lowell is that he is as passionate about helping clinicians as he is about helping his patients, and that is a commonality that the two of us share. I asked him if he would join us today on the podcast and share about his role in mentoring clinicians and why is having a mentor so important? I think it’s important anywhere, but especially in the clinical setting, so, I’d love to hear your experience. Why are you so passionate about providing mentor ship and helping other clinicians?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: I am passionate about it because of my experience of not really having anybody to go to, especially in the alternative health care world, right? We’re considered the redheaded stepchildren.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Yeah, totally.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Also, being a chiropractor, all I heard was how it’s always an uphill battle. We’ve got the AMA against us, and then when you look at chiropractic journals, there’s ad after ad about how you don’t know how to run a practice and how difficult it is. “You need to sign up with my consulting group so we can help you be successful because you can’t be successful on your own and yada, yada, yada.” So, I really don’t want people to have to go through the pain, the agony, and the learning curve that I went through. Before I opened my own practice in Colorado, I signed up with a practice management group which ultimately turned out to be a disaster.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I had the same experience with practice management groups. How many of them would you say are successful? When you join a practice management firm and sign up for their coaching, they promise they’re going to get you from 0 to 500 patients, a day, in three days.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: And you’re going to pay them a lot of money to do that.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: And they don’t fulfill.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: They don’t fulfill because, in my experience, the main thing they’re missing out on is the individuality of the doctor and what the doctor believes. You’ve got the belief systems.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: It’s so true. Every practitioner is so different; what your goals are and the type of people that you want to see, differ from the type of people I want to see, therefore your practice model is different than mine.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Motivating the doctor is different and what all these practice management firms do, (at least back in the day,) is put you in their box. “Here, follow these specific steps.” Well, guess what? If you don’t have the personality to do that, you aren’t going to do it.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: It’s a big failure and you’ve wasted a lot of money and time. Myself included, I’ve found that clinicians then beat themselves up because they just spent a whole bunch of money on what seems to have no value, and then they might even have a spouse on the other end saying, “I told you.”
Dr. Lowell Keppel: “I’m tired of financing your hobby.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I have heard those words before. It breaks my heart that there are some good people out there, like you, that do a great job working with practitioners, however, there are a lot more shysters. But I think it’s that way across any kind of professional situation; you have good accounts and upgraded accounts, and you have good lawyers and great lawyers.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Right. And I found a couple of practice management groups that did help me. They didn’t help me reach the limit that I really wanted per say, but they helped me with some things that ultimately, played into my success long-term.
What is success? These people were chasing this thing, success, but nobody knows what it is. If you’re chasing success and have it, but don’t know that you have it, then you think you need to keep chasing it.
So, one of the things that I do with practitioners when I’m mentoring them is ask them. “What is your definition of success?” For me, it was going to a restaurant and ordering whatever I wanted and not looking at the price, and then picking up the tab for my friends. That’s just one example but we have to define what it means to be successful. Is it having 100 patients a day? Or can you be successful at 25 patients a day?
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Also, part of that success, is knowing where that balance is. Sometimes we think success means that I just have to work like a workhorse and don’t have any family time or any downtime. And of course, going to the journals or what you hear or believed to be true, that it just takes “a lot of work” to build a practice. It’s a lot of work. I am with you; I’m not saying there isn’t work involved. You can’t just sit back and just hope the door’s going to swing open and the phone’s going to ring. There’s some strategic work that has to be done in the way of marketing and setting up your business. Finding that level of success, I completely agree with you, is different for every single practitioner.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Right. As far as the hard work stuff goes, we have to take action. And I can’t exactly remember who I heard this from, but you want to take inspired action.
When you’re taking inspired action, it’s not work. It’s not a burden. It inspires you to help take the steps to create whatever it is that you want to create.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: How would you advise a clinician, a practitioner in this alternative healthcare space? How would you advise them to define what success looks like?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: When I’m working with the practitioners, I say, “I want you to write down what your goals are. Don’t judge them. Just write down anything that comes into your brain, and then send it to me. And let’s take a look at this.” I then, can help guide them into more specifics. “Okay, you want to be successful? What does that mean? You want to be abundant? What does that look like to you?” Then I start getting them to think more specifically about what’s going on. I am not exactly sure where I picked this up, but another thing I like to do is ask them, “What are the “buts?”” I wrote down that I wanted my own jet plane as part of my goals. I then had a “but” jump in my head, and it was my mom’s voice, “It’s expensive, it’s extravagant, it’s unnecessary. Why do you think you need that? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
And I sat there and I thought, “Okay. Well, that’s helping to uncover some of my limiting beliefs as to why I should have a jet plane.” But I thought about it a little bit more then I asked myself, “What does a jet plane represent?” Freedom to go where I want when I want? Do I really need to have my own jet plane to do that? No. So, what’s out there? There are options like jet sharing. Buying a piece of a jet or, again, just having that mindset that if I want to hop on a plane and go to Cancun, I can do it. I don’t have to worry about being able to afford it so, it was really about the freedom. Getting back to the premise of when I write something down, if there’s a “but” in my head, that’s uncovering a limited belief system that’s going to stop me from getting what I want.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I love that! I do think about limiting beliefs but work with doctors in a little bit of a different way, but I think I’m going to steal that from you because it is so good. What are the “buts?” What are the things that you say, “Yeah but I don’t know about that.” It could be a parent. It could be a spouse. It could be something you learned or saw when you were in school. It could have been what you saw in a movie or any kind of preprogrammed belief that’s going to limit your success.
On that note, what would you say the top two or three biggest limiting beliefs that you see with practitioners that you work with?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Buying the lie is definitely at the top of the list of limiting beliefs. What lie did you buy into? “I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve it. This is going to be hard. We’re chiropractors and we’re not real doctors. People aren’t going to spend money on nutrition or pay me cash because they’ve got insurance.” These are all just limiting beliefs and getting people to think differently is most important.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Right. What’s another one?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: I would just sum it up right there. I don’t even think we need to discuss another.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Okay. Fair enough. If we were going to dive into the limiting beliefs, then what would be the top three limiting beliefs be? I want to see if your three are the same as my three.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: I think, one is, “I’m not good enough.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I would agree with that. Impostor syndrome is a real thing.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Another limiting belief is, “I don’t know enough.” Personally, I spoke to a lot of doctors. I wanted to know everything before I started incorporating nutrition. I went to a seminar, had a procedure and I went back to the office Monday. It was contact reflex analysis, and I just implemented that right then and there. I didn’t know what Beta food was. I had no clue what was in Beta food. All I knew was Beta food went with the gallbladder. Boom.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s right. It’s all we need to know.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: It’s all we need to know. So, I think that’s another thing people don’t think they know enough yet to get started, and we all make excuses. We have got to do away with the excuses and we’ve got to take responsibility. Take personal responsibility for not doing what I was supposed to do. “I didn’t have enough time.” That’s an excuse because you had time to watch TV.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s right. I was at a Tony Robbins seminar several years ago, I’ve been to three actually. This one in particular, was a business mastery one that I just loved. I love business. I’m a serial entrepreneur, I just love business. There were two key things that I learned there, which had never occurred to me before. The first thing is, life is happening for you. Life is not happening to you. The first time I heard that, I thought, “Oh, no, no, no, no. Uh-uh. He’s wrong. Nope, nope, nope.” Life is crappy sometimes and that doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s just what’s out there. It’s things I don’t have control over. It’s the things that happened to me that I don’t like: someone was mean to me, I had a patient who got squirrely, or I had an argument with my spouse or whatever.
I realized that all of those things are happening to me because of that same limiting belief. If I keep saying “I’m too busy,” what am I going to get? More of the same thing. That is a limiting belief. I don’t have to be too busy. I can choose to have as much busy as I want or not want. But having that stuff come up again and again and again in my space gives the signal for me that something needs to change.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Right. And you said the keyword there, choose.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: It’s my choice.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: The only thing you have control over is you. You don’t have control over anything else. You have no control over that patient buying supplements from you.
So, the only thing that we have control over is ourselves and we can choose how we’re going to respond to our situations. You were also saying that you’re an entrepreneur. You like making money. Then there’s a guy like me who thinks that the idea of making money is a little bit scary and intimidating, but I love helping people. So, I have to take a step back and re-frame that I’m going to help people and I’m going to trust the process that the money is going to come back. But I still have to take the steps to put that in place so, I appreciate what you say there.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Let’s discuss that topic of conversation because money comes up a lot. I find that when working with a mentor, a lot of practitioners get stuck when the conversation about the “M” word comes up. Those limiting beliefs are around money and often, what we either saw or were told as children or even lack of belief that that’s even possible. It’s not about the conflict that occurs in the practitioner’s mind, and I’ve dealt with the same thing. It’s that our number one goal is to help people. We want to serve, we want to give, we want to do whatever we can to help our patients feel better. When there’s a financial limitation that the patient experiences, we tend to say, “Well, alright, I’ll treat you for free or I’ll charge you less, or you can just have the supplements,” and you can pay for them next time.
I love that you to want to care for people but you’re going to end up broke and naked sleeping on your mother’s couch in the basement, what the heck.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Then you’re not going to be able to help anybody.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Exactly, you can no longer help anyone and you’re not going to be happy.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Right.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Happiness is the choice we make at that moment. I can’t make the patient’s finances my problem. I don’t have control over that. What I do have control over, is myself and understanding the fact that we have to be able to make money in order to serve more people. This is a concept that so many practitioners don’t understand. It’s like we know it, but we don’t get it, inside. We have to make money in order to impact more people.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Yeah. I think practitioners in this field get confused because a lot of them are loving and kind in nature and they just want to help people, but they let that love get in the way of knowing they need to make money. We also have to understand that equal exchange, that law of exchange.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s right.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: The conversation you and I had a few weeks ago, you really brought that up clear. There has got to be a fair exchange going on.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s right.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: If I help you and you want to help me in return, that’s sometimes money, but sometimes it’s not. Going back to what you were saying about giving away supplements or free treatment away, those are the worst patients.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: They are the worst patients.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: They don’t stick around. And do you really want them to refer? No, because they’re going to refer people just like them.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Exactly. And then it doesn’t feel good when it doesn’t work out because they don’t come back and you feel guilty and have all the thoughts of how you gave them so much money’s worth of something or treated them free. But stop right there. The only person responsible for that is…
Dr. Lowell Keppel: You?
Dr. Ronda Nelson: You. That’s it. I just did a case study inside Clinical Academy and we were talking about a patient that I had, and it was the same thing. I did it, when I know better. It’s what we do.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Yeah, but we get sucked into the moment. Go ahead. You know better.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I was frustrated, not because I gave the supplements away, but I more that I gave my time away, just trying to help. It wasn’t that the person couldn’t afford it, but it was a friend and I thought, “Okay. I’ll help. I’m really happy to help you.” So, as a friend, never treat your friends. Family or friends refer always, but what happened was, I ended up going down this road and I wasn’t receiving good information. My friend was not intentionally withholding information, but I couldn’t do what I needed to do because her goals were different than mine. Now that relationship is a little strained because she left and went to do something different, and she’s kind of upset with me. It was a train wreck at the end. I knew better and I did it anyway.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: You said something really important about your goals and her goals. I have found myself, a lot of times, that when I’m talking to the patients, I’ll just flat out be honest. I’ll say, “Look, my goal for you is this, whatever it happens to be. But if your goal is something different, we need to get on the same page on what our goals are because now we’re going to have two different types of expectations going on here. I’m here to service you. What is your goal?” And they may say, “I just don’t want to be in pain anymore.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Right. Okay. Then that’s how I can help you. So, we’ve kind of gone on the big white circle here. When you’re talking with practitioners and you’re working with them as a mentor, how do you language this conversation in a way that someone can understand? It’s easy because it’s kind of ethereal like exchange of time versus energy, that money time exchange. It has to be even and don’t treat your friends and family but how you have that conversation with them or you get them to have that mentoring “aha” moment?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: I just keep asking why. Let’s say that we have a patient or a practitioner that’s afraid to sell supplements. Well, why? Well, because I don’t want to be labeled as the guy that’s the pill pusher. Well, why? And I just keep asking why until they can’t come up with any more excuses. And somewhere along the why questions, you’ll come up with their limiting belief. And then go back to Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins had his birth in neurolinguistic programming using the patient’s own words, to help them realize where they’re stuck. Now, I’m a big fan of NET, neuroemotional technique. It helped me out a lot. What I’ll do with these practitioners after I figure out what an underlying core lie that they bought into, then we’ll do some NET on it. That helps erase the physiology, and then now can input some new information so they can make changes a lot faster.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: It does tend to be it’s like a circle. It’s like a dog chasing their tail; it just keeps going around and around and the conversation has a loop. So, what you’re really doing is what I call a loop interrupt. You’re stopping and saying, “But why? Well, I don’t know. Why am I chasing my tail? I don’t know why I’m chasing my tail. Let’s see. Why might I be doing that? Because it looks interesting. Well, why does it look interesting?” And off we go down that path. So, let’s get back to our topic for the day. Give me another reason why it is so important to have a mentor.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: You need to have somebody that you can go to when you get stuck.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Thank you. That’s what I’m looking for.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: That’s absolutely the biggest thing. I’ll tell you a quick story. I have a lady that I mentored. Her name is Angela. I first met Angela at one of my seminars here in Denver, and I looked at her and said, “So, Angela, what do you do?” She replies, “I’m a nutritionist.” I asked, “Where’s your practice?” “I don’t have a practice.” “Why not?” She says, “Because I’m a mom.” I said, “Okay. Well, why don’t you have a practice?” She looked at me like, “Well, because I’m a mom.” “Alright.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Dummy, why didn’t you listen the first time?
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Yeah, right? “What did you go to school for?” “Well, I went to school for a nutritionist.” “And you don’t have a practice?” “Well, no.” I ask, “Why not?” “Well, because I have three little kids at home.” “I understand that. Did anybody tell you could do both?” And she sat back and she’s like, “Well, no.” So, we just opened up the door that, “Hey.” I said, “Look, just set up the rules. The rules are you’re a mom. Kids come first. How many hours a week can you work?” “I can work five hours a week.” I say, “Your problem is going to be being too busy. It’s going to fill up five hours. That’s nothing.” So, Angela does it. She starts seeing people. She started letting people know out there that she’s seeing people and she’s going along. And then what do I get? I get the call. She says, “I’m too busy.” “Well, why are you too busy?” I said, “You didn’t set boundaries. You lost sight of what’s going on.”
I later get another call from Angela and she says, “Things have been going really well, but lately they’ve been pretty slow.” I said, “Well, Angela, your practice is like a faucet. You can turn it on and turn it off. You turn it on by getting back in tune with your practice…law of attraction. Get back in tune with your practice. A few weeks later, I get another call from Angela. “What’s the matter?” She says, “I’m too busy.” “Angela, you don’t have to turn the faucet on all the way.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: All the way. Exactly.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: She asks, “Well, why didn’t you tell me that?” Anyway, Angela’s kids are now grown, it’s been over a course of many years. Her practice has taken on this different life. Several years ago, she was making enough money and making the house payment. She’s honestly one of my best accounts but it’s an example of helping them open up and seeing that there are other options they can do. They don’t have to be stuck in this situation.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Even something like sharing an office, you know, there’s a lot of creative ways you can do it. You can find another practitioner that just wants to work part-time and both of you go in together. You share an office and share the utilities and you divide up your time appropriately. You can rent a space. Whatever it looks like for you, your definition of, which is what we talked about first. Success. What does success look like for her, for your account?
For Angela, it was that she only wanted to work five hours a week. But then she found out that she could work more, wasn’t sure she wanted to work more, and it ebbed and flowed. That’s another beautiful thing about being a clinician is that as the seasons of your life change, your practice, flavor, and style may have to change, and it’s really okay.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Your practice will take on a life of its own. It’ll have its own identity and so it’s going to ebb and flow, it’s going to go up and down. “I’m slow right now.” “What are you thinking about?” “I’m thinking about the disaster in the political world.” “Well, get off of that and think about your practice.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s right.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Again, I tell people that what worked for me, if you’re stuck, if you’re not moving, transition your brain from asking for things; If you’re a prayer person, quit asking God for stuff and start thanking God for stuff.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Yes, that’s right.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: And when you start thanking every day for the patients who want, need your help, and are willing to pay for it, now things shift. And now you move into this place and the next thing you know, you wake up one day and you go, “Well, I’m busy. Wow, I like being busy.” And then you start expecting to be busy and when you start expecting it to be busy, then it rolls. And then you have a patient that doesn’t show up and you go, “Thank God, I needed a break.”
Dr. Ronda Nelson: That’s how I am too. Do not fill the spot. Leave it. I have things to do. I’m thankful for that. And also, that person, wasn’t meant to be there that day or they would have been.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: That’s right.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: I never get upset about that, but I love what you just said and I want to move that direction just for a minute. So, as I mentioned before we went live on the podcast, I was up last night. I wasn’t sleeping. I woke up a little early and it was about 3:30, 4:00 in the morning and my mind was just worrying. I thought about how my to-do list is really long right now. We’re getting ready to launch Clinical Academy and open it back up for enrollment, so things are really busy. I’m lying in bed and you know how when you’re in that half-asleep, half-awake state? You sometimes don’t have full control over what you’re thinking until you wake up enough that you can gain control over what you’re thinking. I was on the hamster wheel of, “oh my gosh, I have to do this and I have to do that and I need to call that person and I forgot to get back to that person.”
Then my body begins to not feel very good. You start going down the rabbit hole of all that negative thinking. I then woke up, of out of that state, thought, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. Uh-uh. We’re going to shift that right now because I’ll never get back to sleep if I’ve got that going on.” And I consciously shifted and started to do exactly what you said. I just started to be thankful for this person and the fact that I had the opportunity to get back to them tomorrow and I have the opportunity to serve this person. I have the opportunity to write that email copy or whatever it is. It was shortly after that, that I actually was able to fall back asleep. So, even the change in your physiology, not just what happens in your mind, but there’s literally a physical change in our bodies. When we get this head space right, then the body starts to line up; Not only is the energy better but then your body feels better, which is an extension of that energy that you’re putting out there as well.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Right. Yeah.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Lowell, you are a rock star. I’m so thankful for you, and although our conversation sort of went everywhere, it was good. I think all the things that we talked about are things that when you find that person that speaks your language and gets you, they know how to unravel what your limiting beliefs are or your excuses about why you can’t do something. I recommend everyone has a coach or mentor because we already have enough challenges to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Having that person who can help you get your head straight, you can play full out in the game of life, the game of your business and the game of being a clinician, so that you can get the results and impact more people. Then you’ll make an income that you deserve or want. I can’t overemphasize it, so that’s why I knew I wanted to talk to you about this. You are so good at working with these practitioners. So, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. I am so grateful.
Dr. Lowell Keppel: Absolutely. It was a pleasure. Anytime. Thank you.
Dr. Ronda Nelson: Well, my friends, thank you for joining me. If you are reading, be sure to leave us a review if you love it, especially if you love Dr. Lowell Keppel. He’s a rock star, you can let us know that too, otherwise, we’ll be back next week Tuesday with another edition of The Clinical Entrepreneur Podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. Have a great week. Talk to you soon.
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